Wake mayors opposed to bill limiting controls on home appearance

Posted March 18, 2013

— The Wake County Mayor's Association spoke out Monday against a bill that would limit city and town leaders' authority to control home appearance and design.

Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles called the measure – House Bill 150, which was approved last week in committee and sent to the House floor – a "dire emergency."

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said it could lead to incompatible development and hurt property values.

"To open up what can be built next door to almost anything, it is kind of frightening to people," she said. 

McFarlane said last week that Raleigh has developed zoning regulations in response to community requests, with the overarching goals of continued growth and providing affordable housing. The city wants to control things like the placement of bedrooms and bathrooms within homes, she said, to ensure rooming houses don't sprout up in single-family neighborhoods.

She added Monday that the bill would also void parts of recently approved building guidelines that included citizen and developer input.

"This bill is in direct conflict with that," McFarlane said. "It really takes away the power of citizens."

Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, who is a sponsor of the bill, said it's important for homeowners to have some say in the design of their homes.

The North Carolina Home Builders Association and the North Carolina Association of Realtors agree. 

"There are definitely benefits to having a neighborhood look a certain way, but our contention is it is up to those homeowners," said Cady Thomas, spokeswoman for the realtors' association. Homes Wake mayors voice displeasure with home appearance bill

Those who support the bill also point out that it does not take away power from homeowners associations or historic districts. 

Home Builders Association spokeswoman Lisa Martin said some local leaders go too far in controlling home appearances.

"There is no public purpose to it. It costs a lot of money," Martin said. "It can price people out of the housing market and get rid of their opportunity to own their own home."

Eagles, however, said his town – which has grown nearly 330 percent in the last six years – is attracting home buyers and doesn't need to change its rules. 

"What I would say to legislators is, 'What are we doing wrong?'" he said. "Seems like we are doing something right."


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  • ovlov74 Mar 19, 2013

    I find it interesting that most local builders oppose this bill. The large tract builders support it.

  • As if .... Mar 19, 2013

    Boy ,oh Boy ! These Republicans are bought and sold by special interests ie, fracking, gun lobby, realtors,anti abortion nuts,and so on.
    What a mess this is going to be to fix when they are all voted out.

  • rasengineers Mar 19, 2013

    "It was that way long before the build out, at least when I was house hunting in 1993, coming from MD, I was amazed to see the hodge podge approach to building. Apparently there are little energies spent on master planning/zoning."

    My point exactly! First of all, the "build out" started in the late 1960's, not post 1993. How do I know? I was born in Raleigh. You can thank developers and homebuilders contributing to polical campaigns and using the influence to oppose zoning regulations and impact fees for the hodge-podge development and for building beyond infrastructure capacity, then refusing to help pay for infrastructure upgrades and new schools. Much of the cost of infrastructure and schools has been borne by property owners of Wake County. This bill is designed to line the pockets of those same developers and homebuilders. Personally, I am tired of subsidizing their profits.

  • djofraleigh Mar 19, 2013

    They tried that in the '90s. Low-income housing projects inserted into middle class neighborhoods. The crime rate went up. -- comment

    Well, today, section 8 housing and most all apartments have low income units. The projects have already been spread around and many are torn down. The crime rates have done down, but other things have been spread around.

  • Grand Union Mar 19, 2013

    "Texas cities have been able to function without zoning laws...which is how the well-to-do insulate themselves from the poor people."

    Which Texas cities? example please of how well this is working.....

  • rroadrunner99 Mar 19, 2013

    Now the government is going to tell you how you WILL build your house, but YOU will pay for it, built the way they want it built. How's the housing market going for the realtor's with this you think?

  • YourMom Mar 19, 2013

    Here is a link to the General Statute that, if passed, this bill will amend:

  • superman Mar 19, 2013

    If you own the land it should be your choice as to what you build and what color to paint it as long as it meets the city or county building code. Color of the paint, size of the house etc shouldnt make any difference. Doesnt make sense to dictate your preferences and have your neighbors build to your likes.

  • oakcity Mar 19, 2013

    all you folks complaining about HOA's realize this has nothing to do with that right?

    this is city and towns. basically its saying that now a developer can build you a shoddy house, but the HOA can still tell you what color to paint it.

    having said that, it is RIDICULOUS for the these legislators to try and control cities and towns while screaming about states rights.


  • brassy Mar 19, 2013

    "Having rich and poor live amongst each other is a good thing, I think"

    They tried that in the '90s. Low-income housing projects inserted into middle class neighborhoods. The crime rate went up.